Very simple, easy to follow reasons why the Front Office is doing the job they were hired to do. (All data gathered from FanGraphs.com, BaseballProspectus.com and Baseball-Reference.com)
1. The Pirates have increased their win totals by 15 games in 2011 and 7 games in 2012. This has also coincided with an increase in Batter WAR (2010-7.6/2011-14.1/2012-20.5) and Pitcher WAR (2010-5.3/2011-5.7/2012-12.2).
Here is a crude Projection I cooked up based on 2010-2012 performance and win totals. Based on the increases we've seen in Batter and Pitcher WAR coupled with the increase in wins, it could give us a reasonable outlook for the 2013 season. Or it could be useless.
2013 (via Rainja182)
2. With the majority of the young core of the organization returning for 2013, a return to health and full seasons for a few players with legitimate upside, as well as the additions of players that have a moderate chance at out-performing the incumbents, there is a distinct and very reasonable chance at continuing a positive climb in the win column.
3. The addition of Gerrit Cole to the rotation in mid season will be the first arrival of a legitimate top prospect since Pedro Alvarez (BP#4) made his debut (Marte slotted in the 40-80 range on most lists). Baseball is incredibly unique when it comes to drafting and talent development. It can takes years to see even a modest return on draft picks, and longer still for them to reach true potential. We will finally begin to see the draft tree bear its fruit. Gerrit's arrival signals the beginning of the pipeline and ultimately the success of these prospects
may (likely will) decide the future of NH with this organization.
4. A change in expectations. This, more than anything, should speak to the job that NH and Co. have done. With success comes a rise in expectations. The mere fact that we HAD expectations towards the end of last season is a signal that this process is moving in the right direction. It may seem odd to say this now, but I've never been more thrilled to be disappointed.
These are all facts. Parts of these facts are subjective, but they are derived from simple truth. One can argue with the way in which these truths have occurred and the manner in which the FO has done it's business. But to say that this organization is not moving in the right direction is just plain ignorant. I for one stress caution in wishing for the immediate removal of the current FO, because sometimes wishes do come true, and we may well be sorry that they do.
Instead of talking about how far the Pirates have come and how bright the future continues to look, we point fingers, place blame and overall lead a pessimistic point of view. We look at every move, loss and decision in an incredibly narrow vacuum which ultimately shadows the positive things this organization has accomplished. Has NH and Co. made mistakes? Sure. But, hasn't every FO? I believe the good far outweighs the bad.
One more note of interest-
There are currently seven teams that have increased their win total in EACH of the last two seasons. They are: Baltimore, Kansas City, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington and Pittsburgh.
Only Baltimore and Washington have a higher increase in wins during that time frame (2010-2012). And of those three teams, the Pirates have the best rated farm system.
This train is on it's way to the playoffs. Why switch tracks now? Who's to say that the new track doesn't twist and turn and take longer to get where we were going in the first place?